MARINE CORPS AIRSTATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Service members and firefighters trained for recognition as first responders in a hazardous material incident during the HazMat Awareness and Operations course at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Nov. 16–20, 2015.
Provided by Bucks County Community College Department of Public Safety from Doylestown, Penn., the course is used to make individuals more aware of potential hazards and teach them initial response procedures.
“I believe it does give people the basic skills necessary to better recognize potential hazards they’re surrounded by on a daily basis,” said Bob Opett, a course instructor. “It’s important for service members especially to know this because of all the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials they may come into contact with on base or in the field.”
Being on a military installation, service members may come into contact with hazardous materials such as weapons, explosives and fuels as well as common household chemicals used on base such as chlorine found in pools or even cleaning products.
First Lt. Jonathan Boron, the Provost Marshal’s Office operations officer, said he was selected to take this course, but also very much wanted to because as a military police, he may be one of the first responders to a HazMat incident.
“We have to be prepared to react to whatever might be on at the scene before higher level authorities respond,” said Boron. “I learned a lot from the course, especially in terms of actual response. It’s easy to just go read a book about it, but being able to get that hands-on experience gives you a much better perspective and teaches you more.”
This course is the beginning of a series of HazMat courses provided by Bucks County Community College that focuses on basic knowledge and preventative measures concerning HazMat situations.
After completing the awareness and operations course, members can move onto more advanced courses including the HazMat technician, incident command or incident safety officer course.
Boron said that if they offer more classes at MCAS Iwakuni he would definitely participate and also recommend that his Marines participate as well.